Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Hugh Montague Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard, was a British officer, instrumental in establishing the Royal Air Force. He has been described as the Father of the Royal Air Force. During his formative years Trenchard struggled academically, failing many examinations and only just succeeding in meeting the minimum standard for commissioned service in the British Army; as a young infantry officer, Trenchard served in India and with the outbreak of the Boer War, he volunteered for service in South Africa. While fighting the Boers, Trenchard was critically wounded and as a result of his injury, he lost a lung, was paralysed and returned to Great Britain. On medical advice Trenchard travelled to Switzerland to recuperate and boredom saw him taking up bobsleighing. After a heavy crash, Trenchard found that he could walk unaided. Following further recuperation, Trenchard returned to active service in South Africa. After the end of the Boer War, Trenchard saw service in Nigeria where he was involved in efforts to bring the interior under settled British rule and quell intertribal violence.
During his time in West Africa, Trenchard commanded the Southern Nigeria Regiment for several years. In Summer 1912, Trenchard learned to fly and gained his aviator's certificate on 31 July flying a Henry Farman biplane of the Sopwith School of Flying at Brooklands, he was subsequently appointed as second in command of the Central Flying School. He held several senior positions in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I, serving as the commander of the Royal Flying Corps in France from 1915 to 1917. In 1918, he served as the first Chief of the Air Staff before taking up command of the Independent Air Force in France. Returning as Chief of the Air Staff under Winston Churchill in 1919, Trenchard spent the following decade securing the future of the Royal Air Force, he was Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the 1930s and a defender of the RAF in his years. Trenchard is recognized today as one of the early advocates of strategic bombing. Hugh Montague Trenchard was born at 6 Haines Hill in Taunton, England on 3 February 1873.
He was the third child and second son of Henry Montague Trenchard and his wife Georgiana Louisa Catherine Tower Skene. Trenchard's father was a former captain in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, working as an articled clerk in a legal practice and his mother was the daughter of the Royal Navy captain John McDowall Skene. Although in the 1870s the Trenchards were living in an unremarkable fashion, their forebears had played notable roles in English history. Notable ancestors were Sir Thomas Trenchard, a High Sheriff of Dorset in the 16th century and Sir John Trenchard, the Secretary of State under William III; when Hugh Trenchard was two, the family moved to Courtlands, a manor house in Norton Fitzwarren, less than three miles from the centre of Taunton. The country setting meant that the young Trenchard could enjoy an outdoor life, including spending time hunting rabbits and other small animals with the rifle he was given on his eighth birthday, it was during his junior years that Trenchard and his siblings were educated at home by a resident tutor, whom Trenchard did not respect.
For Trenchard's education, the tutor was neither strict enough nor skillful enough to overcome the children's mischievous attempts to avoid receiving instruction. As a consequence, Trenchard did not excel academically. At the age of 10, Trenchard was sent to board at Allens Preparatory School near Botley in Hampshire. Although he did well at arithmetic, he struggled with the rest of the curriculum. However, Trenchard's parents were not concerned by his educational difficulties, believing that it would be no impediment to him following a military career. Georgina Trenchard wanted her son to enter the Royal Navy. In 1884, Trenchard was moved to Dover where he attended Hammond's, a cramming school for prospective entrants to HMS Britannia. Trenchard failed the Navy's entrance papers, at the age of 13 he was sent to the Reverend Albert Pritchard's crammer, Hill Lands in Wargrave, Berkshire. Hill Lands prepared its pupils for Army commissions and as before Trenchard did not apply himself to his studies, preferring sports and practical joking.
In 1889, when Hugh Trenchard was 16 years old, his father, who had become a solicitor, was declared bankrupt. After being removed from Hill Lands, the young Trenchard was only able to return thanks to the charity of his relatives. Trenchard failed the Woolwich examinations twice and was relegated to applying for the Militia which had lower entry standards; the Militia's examinations proved difficult for Trenchard and he failed in 1891 and 1892. During this time, Trenchard underwent a period of training as a probationary subaltern with the Forfar and Kincardine Artillery. Following his return to Pritchard's, Trenchard achieved a bare pass in March 1893. At the age of 20, he was gazetted as a second-lieutenant in the Second Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and posted to India. Trenchard arrived in India in late 1893. Not long after his arrival, Trenchard was called upon to make a speech at a mess dinner night, it was common practice for the youngest subaltern to make such a speech and Trenchard was expected to cover several highlights of the Royal Scots Fusiliers' history.
Instead, he said "I am proud to belong to this great regiment", followed by "I hope one day I shall live to command it." His'speech' was received with hoots of incredulous laughter, although some
Mainz is the capital and largest city of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The city is located on the Rhine river at its confluence with the Main river, opposite Wiesbaden on the border with Hesse. Mainz is an independent city with a population of 206,628 and forms part of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. Mainz was founded by the Romans in the 1st Century BC during the Classical antiquity era, serving as a military fortress on the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire and as the provincial capital of Germania Superior. Mainz became an important city in the 8th Century AD as part of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the capital of the Electorate of Mainz and seat of the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, the Primate of Germany. Mainz is famous as the home of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the movable-type printing press, who in the early 1450s manufactured his first books in the city, including the Gutenberg Bible. Before the 20th century, the city was known in English as Mentz and in French as Mayence.
Mainz was damaged during World War II, with more than 30 air raids destroying about 80 percent of the city's center, including most of the historic buildings. Today, Mainz is a center of wine production. Mainz is located on the 50th latitude, on the left bank of the river Rhine, opposite the confluence of the Main with the Rhine; the population in the early 2012 was 200,957, an additional 18,619 people maintain a primary residence elsewhere but have a second home in Mainz. The city is part of the Rhein Metro area comprising 5.8 million people. Mainz can be reached from Frankfurt International Airport in 25 minutes by commuter railway. Mainz is a river port city as the Rhine which connects with its main tributaries, such as the Neckar, the Main and the Moselle and thereby continental Europe with the Port of Rotterdam and thus the North Sea. Mainz's history and economy are tied to its proximity to the Rhine handling much of the region's waterborne cargo. Today's huge container port hub allowing trimodal transport is located on the North Side of the town.
The river provides another positive effect, moderating Mainz's climate. After the last ice age, sand dunes were deposited in the Rhine valley at what was to become the western edge of the city; the Mainz Sand Dunes area is now a nature reserve with a unique landscape and rare steppe vegetation for this area. While the Mainz legion camp was founded in 13/12 BC on the Kästrich hill, the associated vici and canabae were erected in direction to the Rhine. Historical sources and archaeological findings both prove the importance of the military and civilian Mogontiacum as a port city on the Rhine. Mainz experiences an oceanic climate; the Roman stronghold or castrum Mogontiacum, the precursor to Mainz, was founded by the Roman general Drusus as early as 13/12 BC. As related by Suetonius the existence of Mogontiacum is well established by four years though several other theories suggest the site may have been established earlier. Although the city is situated opposite the mouth of the Main, the name of Mainz is not from Main, the similarity being due to diachronic analogy.
Main is from the name the Romans used for the river. Linguistic analysis of the many forms that the name "Mainz" has taken on make it clear that it is a simplification of Mogontiacum; the name appears to be Celtic and it is. However, it had become Roman and was selected by them with a special significance; the Roman soldiers defending Gallia had adopted the Gallic god Mogons, for the meaning of which etymology offers two basic options: "the great one", similar to Latin magnus, used in aggrandizing names such as Alexander magnus, "Alexander the Great" and Pompeius magnus, "Pompey the great", or the god of "might" personified as it appears in young servitors of any type whether of noble or ignoble birth. Mogontiacum was an important military town throughout Roman times due to its strategic position at the confluence of the Main and the Rhine; the town of Mogontiacum grew up between the river. The castrum was the base of Legio XIV Gemina and XVI Gallica, XXII Primigenia, IV Macedonica, I Adiutrix, XXI Rapax, XIV Gemina, among others.
Mainz was a base of a Roman river fleet, the Classis Germanica. Remains of Roman troop ships and a patrol boat from the late 4th century were discovered in 1982/86 and may now be viewed in the Museum für Antike Schifffahrt. A temple dedicated to Isis Panthea and Magna Mater is open to the public; the city was the provincial capital of Germania Superior, had an important funeral monument dedicated to Drusus, to which people made pilgrimages for an annual festival from as far away as Lyon. Among the famous buildings were a bridge across the Rhine; the city was the site of the assassination of emperor Severus Alexander in 235. Alemanni forces under Rando sacked the city in 368. From the last day of 405 or 406, the Siling and Asding Vandals, the Suebi, the Alans, other Germanic tribes crossed the Rhine at Mainz. Christian chronicles relate that the bishop, was put to death by the Alemannian Crocus; the way was open to the invasion of Gaul. Throughout the changes of time, the Roman castrum never seems to have been permanently abandoned as a military installation, a testimony to Roman military judgemen
Allies of World War I
The Allies of World War I or Entente Powers is the term used for the coalition that opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria during the First World War. By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the major European powers were divided between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance; the Entente was made up of the United Kingdom and Russia. The Triple Alliance was composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, which remained neutral in 1914; as the war progressed, each coalition added new members. Japan joined the Entente in 1914. After proclaiming its neutrality at the beginning of the war, Italy joined the Entente in 1915; the United States joined as an "associated power" rather than an official ally.'Associated members' included Serbia, Greece and Romania. When the war began in 1914, the Central Powers were opposed by the Triple Entente, formed in 1907 by the British Empire, the Russian Empire and the French Third Republic. Fighting commenced when Austria invaded Serbia on 28 July 1914, purportedly in response to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to Emperor Franz Joseph.
At the same time, German troops entered neutral Belgium and Luxembourg as dictated by the Schlieffen Plan. This allowed Belgium to be treated as an Ally, in contrast to Luxembourg which retained control over domestic affairs but was occupied by the German military. In the East, between 7–9 August the Russians entered German East Prussia on 7 August, Austrian Eastern Galicia. Japan joined the Entente by declaring war on Germany on 23 August Austria on 25 August. On 2 September, Japanese forces surrounded the German Treaty Port of Tsingtao in China and occupied German colonies in the Pacific, including the Mariana and Marshall Islands. Despite its membership of the Triple Alliance, Italy remained neutral until 23 May 1915 when it joined the Entente, declaring war on Austria but not Germany. On 17 January 1916, Montenegro left the Entente. On 6 April 1917, the United States entered the war as a co-belligerent, along with the associated allies of Liberia and Greece. After the 1917 October Revolution, Russia left the Entente and agreed to a separate peace with the Central Powers with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918.
Romania was forced to do the same in the May 1918 Treaty of Bucharest but on 10 November, it repudiated the Treaty and once more declared war on the Central Powers. These changes meant the Allies who negotiated the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 included France, Italy and the US; this came into being on 16 January 1920 with Britain, France and Japan as permanent members of the Executive Council. For much of the 19th century, Britain sought to maintain the European balance of power without formal alliances, a policy known as splendid isolation; this left it dangerously exposed as Europe divided into opposing power blocs and the 1895-1905 Conservative government negotiated first the 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance the 1904 Entente Cordiale with France. The first tangible result of this shift was British support for France against Germany in the 1905 Moroccan Crisis; the 1905-1915 Liberal government continued this re-alignment with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. Like the Anglo-Japanese and Entente agreements, it focused on settling colonial disputes but by doing so paved the way for wider co-operation and allowed Britain to refocus resources in response to German naval expansion.
Since control of Belgium allowed an opponent to threaten invasion or blockade British trade, preventing it was a long-standing British strategic interest. Under Article VII of the 1839 Treaty of London, Britain guaranteed Belgian neutrality against aggression by any other state, by force if required. Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg dismissed this as a'scrap of paper,' but British law officers confirmed it as a binding legal obligation and its importance was well understood by Germany; the 1911 Agadir Crisis led to secret discussions between France and Britain in case of war with Germany. These agreed that within two weeks of its outbreak, a British Expeditionary Force of 100,000 men would be landed in France. Britain was committed to support France in a war against Germany but this was not understood outside government or the upper ranks of the military; as late as 1 August, a clear majority of the Liberal government and its supporters wanted to stay out of the war. While Liberal leaders Herbert Asquith and Edward Grey considered Britain and morally committed to support France regardless, waiting until Germany triggered the 1839 Treaty provided the best chance of preserving Liberal party unity.
The German high command was aware entering Belgium would lead to British intervention but decided the risk was acceptable. On 3 August, Germany demanded unimpeded progress through any part of Belgium a
Mannheim is a city in the southwestern part of Germany, the third-largest in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart and Karlsruhe with a 2015 population of 305,000 inhabitants. The city is at the centre of the larger densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region which has a population of 2,400,000 and is Germany's eighth-largest metropolitan region. Mannheim is located at the confluence of the Rhine and the Neckar in the northwestern corner of Baden-Württemberg; the Rhine separates Mannheim from the city of Ludwigshafen, just to the west of it in Rhineland-Palatinate, the border of Baden-Württemberg with Hesse is just to the north. Mannheim is downstream along the Neckar from the city of Heidelberg. Mannheim is unusual among German cities in that its streets and avenues are laid out in a grid pattern, leading to its nickname "die Quadratestadt"; the eighteenth century Mannheim Palace, former home of the Prince-elector of the Palatinate, now houses the University of Mannheim.
The city is home to major corporations including Daimler, John Deere, Caterpillar, ABB, Fuchs Petrolub, IBM, Reckitt Benckiser, Phoenix Group and several other well-known companies. In addition, Mannheim's SAP Arena is not only the home of the German ice hockey record champions the Adler Mannheim, but the well-known handball team, the Rhein-Neckar Löwen. According to the Forbes magazine, Mannheim is known for its exceptional inventive power and was ranked 11th among the Top 15 of the most inventive cities worldwide; the New Economy Magazine elected Mannheim under the 20 cities that best represent the world of tomorrow emphasizing Mannheim's positive economic and innovative environment. Since 2014, Mannheim has been a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and holds the title of "UNESCO City of Music". Mannheim is a Smart City; the city's tourism slogan is "Leben. Im Quadrat.". The civic symbol of Mannheim is der Wasserturm, a Romanesque water tower completed in 1886 that rises to 60 metres above the highest point of the art nouveau area Friedrichsplatz.
Mannheim is the finishing point of the Bertha Benz Memorial Route. The name of the city was first recorded as Mannenheim in a legal transaction in 766, surviving in a twelfth-century copy in the Codex Laureshamensis from Lorsch Abbey; the name is interpreted as "the home of Manno", a short form of a Germanic name such as Hartmann or Hermann. Mannheim remained a mere village throughout the Middle Ages. In 1606, Frederick IV, Elector Palatine started building the fortress of Friedrichsburg and the adjacent city centre with its grid of streets and avenues. On January 24, 1607, Frederick IV gave Mannheim the status of a "city", whether it was one by or not. Mannheim was levelled during the Thirty Years War around 1622 by the forces of Johan Tilly. After being rebuilt, it was again damaged by the French Army in 1689 during the Nine Years' War. After the rebuilding of Mannheim that began in 1698, the capital of the Electorate of the Palatinate was moved from Heidelberg to Mannheim in 1720 when Karl III Philip, Elector Palatine began construction of Mannheim Palace and the Jesuit Church.
During the eighteenth century, Mannheim was the home of the "Mannheim School" of classical music composers. Mannheim was said to have one of the best court orchestras in Europe under the leadership of the conductor Carlo Grua; the royal court of the Palatinate left Mannheim in 1778. Two decades in 1802, Mannheim was removed from the Palatinate and given to the Grand Duchy of Baden. In 1819, Norwich Duff wrote of Mannheim: In 1819, August von Kotzebue was assassinated in Mannheim; the climate crisis of 1816-17 caused the death of many horses in Mannheim. That year Karl Drais invented the first bicycle. Infrastructure improvements included the establishment of Rhine Harbour in 1828 and construction of the first Baden railway, which opened from Mannheim to Heidelberg in 1840. Influenced by the economic rise of the middle class, another golden age of Mannheim began. In the March Revolution of 1848, the city was a centre for revolutionary activity. In 1865, Friedrich Engelhorn founded the Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik in Mannheim, but the factory was constructed across the Rhine in Ludwigshafen because Mannheim residents feared air pollution from its operations.
From this dye factory, BASF has developed into the largest chemical company in the world. After opening a workshop in Mannheim in 1871 and patenting engines from 1878, Karl Benz patented the first motor car in 1886, he was born in Mühlburg. The Schütte-Lanz company, founded by Karl Lanz and Johann Schütte in 1909, built 22 airships; the company's main competitor was the Zeppelin works. When World War I broke out in 1914, Mannheim's industrial plants played a key role in Germany's war economy; this contributed to the fact that, on 27 May 1915, Ludwigshafen was the world's first civilian settlement behind the battle lines to be bombed from the air. French aircraft attacked the BASF plants; the precedent was set for this attack by Germany's repeated air raids against British civilian populations throughout southeastern Britain during the first half of 1915. When Germany lost the war in 1918, according to the peace terms, the left bank of the Rhine was occupied by French troops; the French occupation lasted until 1930, some of Ludwigshafen's most elegant houses were erected for the officers of the French garrison.
After the First World War, the Heinric
The Airco DH.4 was a British two-seat biplane day bomber of the First World War. It was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland for Airco, was the first British two-seat light day-bomber to have an effective defensive armament; the DH.4 was developed as a light two-seat combat aircraft, intended to perform both aerial reconnaissance and day bomber missions. One of the early aims of the design was for it to be powered by the newly-developed Beardmore Halford Pullinger engine, capable of generating up to 160 hp. During its first years of flight, it was tried with several different engines the best of, the 375 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle engine. Armament and ordnance for the aircraft consisted of one 0.303 in Vickers machine gun for the pilot and one 0.303 in Lewis gun on a Scarff ring mounting for the observer. In addition, either a pair of 230 lb bombs or a maximum payload of four 112 lb bombs could be carried; the DH.4 performed its first flight in August 1916. The majority of DH.4s were manufactured as general purpose two-seaters in the United States, the majority of which were intended to be used in service with the American expeditionary forces being deployed to fight in France.
Following the signing of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which marked the end of the First World War, many DH.4s were determined to be surplus and sold to civil operators. Shortly after the conflict, the U. S. Army issued contracted to several companies to remanufacture many of their DH.4s to the improved DH.4B standard and continued to operate the type into the early 1930s. The DH.4 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland as a light two-seat combat aircraft, intended to perform both aerial reconnaissance and day bomber missions. An early feature of the design was the intention for it to be powered by the newly-developed Beardmore Halford Pullinger engine, capable of generating up to 160 hp. According to aviation author J. M Bruce, the DH.4 was developed in parallel to the rival Bristol Fighter and manufactured by the Bristol Aeroplane Company. During August 1916, the prototype DH.4 conducted the type's maiden flight, powered by a prototype BHP engine rated at 230 hp. Initial flight tests with the first prototype revealed it to have favourable handling and performance.
The Central Flying School conducted early evaluation flights using the prototype, leading to it producing a favourable report on the aircraft, observing its high stability in flight, light flying controls and its comfortable crew positions. During its flights with the CFS, it was able to attain unheard-of time-to-altitude figures, unmatched by any of its predecessors. While flying trials with the prototype had been producing promising results, it soon became recognised that the BHP engine would have required a major redesign prior to the unit entering production. By the point of flying trials with the first prototype, there had been no finalised plans for quantity production of the BHP engine. Coincidentally, another suitable and promising aeroengine, the water-cooled Rolls-Royce Eagle in-line engine, was approaching the end of its development process. According to Bruce, the Eagle shared the same basic configuration as the BHP engine, which aiding in its adoption by de Havilland, as did the engine's endorsement by William Beardmore.
During the summer of 1916, a second prototype, equipped with the Rolls-Royce engine, conducted its first flight. In response to its favourable performance, the Royal Flying Corps decided to place an initial order for the type during late 1916. Separately to the RFC's interactions with the DH.4, it had received substantial interest from the Royal Navy as well. The Admiralty decided to order a further pair of prototypes, configured to suit the service's own requirements, for evaluation purposes. Following trials with the first of these prototypes, orders were placed for the production of DH.4s to equip the Royal Naval Air Service. During late 1916, the first order for 50 DH.4s, powered by 250 hp Eagle III engines, was received from the RFC. According to Bruce, it was not a surprise to most observers that the Eagle had been selected to power the first batch of production DH.4s. The initial production aircraft were identical to the second prototype, the main difference being the adoption of armament, which included a single synchronised 0.303 in Vickers machine gun for the pilot, while the observer was provided with a 0.303 in Lewis gun mounted upon a Scarff ring.
Production of the DH.4 was performed by a variety of companies beyond Airco themselves. W. Berwick and Co, Glendower Aircraft Company, Palladium Autocars, Vulcan Motor and Engineering, the Westland Aircraft Work. By the end of production, a total of 1,449 aircraft were constructed in Britain for the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. Overseas, SABCA of Belgium produced a further 15 DH.4s during 1926. As production progressed, various changes and improvements to the design were introduced upon the DH.4. As time went on, production DH.4s were fitted with Eagle engines of increasing power, settling on the 375 hp Eagle VIII, which powered the majority of frontline DH.4s by the end of 1917. However, this transition was hindered as by January 1917, it had become clear that there was a chronic shortage of Rolls-Royce aero engines, of the Eagle in particular.
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force. Formed towards the end of the First World War on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history. In particular, it played a large part in the Second World War where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain; the RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence, which are to "provide the capabilities needed to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom and overseas territories, including against terrorism. The RAF describes its mission statement as "... an agile and capable Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power.
Air power is defined as "the ability to project power from the air and space to influence the behaviour of people or the course of events". Today the Royal Air Force maintains an operational fleet of various types of aircraft, described by the RAF as being "leading-edge" in terms of technology; this consists of fixed-wing aircraft, including: fighter and strike aircraft, airborne early warning and control aircraft, ISTAR and SIGINT aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and strategic and tactical transport aircraft. The majority of the RAF's rotary-wing aircraft form part of the tri-service Joint Helicopter Command in support of ground forces. Most of the RAF's aircraft and personnel are based in the UK, with many others serving on operations or at long-established overseas bases. Although the RAF is the principal British air power arm, the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm and the British Army's Army Air Corps deliver air power, integrated into the maritime and land environments. While the British were not the first to make use of heavier-than-air military aircraft, the RAF is the world's oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control.
Following publication of the "Smuts report" prepared by Jan Smuts the RAF was founded on 1 April 1918, with headquarters located in the former Hotel Cecil, during the First World War, by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. At that time it was the largest air force in the world. After the war, the service was drastically cut and its inter-war years were quiet, with the RAF taking responsibility for the control of Iraq and executing a number of minor actions in other parts of the British Empire; the RAF's naval aviation branch, the Fleet Air Arm, was founded in 1924 but handed over to Admiralty control on 24 May 1939. The RAF developed the doctrine of strategic bombing which led to the construction of long-range bombers and became its main bombing strategy in the Second World War; the RAF underwent rapid expansion prior to and during the Second World War. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan of December 1939, the air forces of British Commonwealth countries trained and formed "Article XV squadrons" for service with RAF formations.
Many individual personnel from these countries, exiles from occupied Europe served with RAF squadrons. By the end of the war the Royal Canadian Air Force had contributed more than 30 squadrons to serve in RAF formations approximately a quarter of Bomber Command's personnel were Canadian. Additionally, the Royal Australian Air Force represented around nine percent of all RAF personnel who served in the European and Mediterranean theatres. In the Battle of Britain in 1940, the RAF defended the skies over Britain against the numerically superior German Luftwaffe. In what is the most prolonged and complicated air campaign in history, the Battle of Britain contributed to the delay and subsequent indefinite postponement of Hitler's plans for an invasion of the United Kingdom. In the House of Commons on 20 August, prompted by the ongoing efforts of the RAF, Prime Minister Winston Churchill eloquently made a speech to the nation, where he said "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few".
The largest RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany by Bomber Command. While RAF bombing of Germany began immediately upon the outbreak of war, under the leadership of Air Chief Marshal Harris, these attacks became devastating from 1942 onward as new technology and greater numbers of superior aircraft became available; the RAF adopted night-time area bombing on German cities such as Hamburg and Dresden, developed precision bombing techniques for specific operations, such as the "Dambusters" raid by No. 617 Squadron, or the Amiens prison raid known as Operation Jericho. Following victory in the Second World War, the RAF underwent significant re-organisation, as technological advances in air warfare saw the arrival of jet fighters and bombers. During the early stages of the Cold War, one of the first major operations undertaken by the Royal Air Force was in 1948 and the Berlin Airlift, codenamed Operation Plainfire. Between 26 June and the lifting of the Russian blockade of the city on 2 May, the RAF provided 17% of the total supplies delivered du